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Want to add another useful feature?

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  • Want to add another useful feature?

    Thanks for all the updates you've made to your plugin. Your support has been great and I think it is going to work well for me. I am definitely going to buy it.

    Here is another idea for a feature you might want to add. You have some time to work on this one because it won't be needed until cold weather arrives.

    What about an automatic "purge" or "winterize" feature? Here is how I would suggest it work:

    1. Trigger off the forecast low temperature. Allow setting the low temp threshold at which the system will be purged. Also allow triggering by a user specifiable HS device.

    2. When triggered, turn on a user specifiable HS device. This could be used to turn on an air-compressor, for example.

    3. Wait "X" minutes, then cycle through all zones one at a time waiting "Y" minutes between each zone.

    4. Repeat x times

    5. Turn OFF the HS device specified in 2.

    Configuration variables could be something like:

    Winterize system when Forecast Min < __ or when __ is ON

    Turn device __ ON at beginning of cycle and OFF at end of cycle
    Wait __ minutes before proceeding
    Wait __ minutes between zones

    Repeat __ times

    Winterize mode OFF when Forecast Min > __ or when __ is OFF

    Is this feasible? For people who have a compressor permanently connected to their sprinkler system for winterization, this would fully automate the process. Even those who don't have a compressor in the system could use it to semi-automate purging their system by hooking up a compressor and then turning on the device that triggers the cycle.

  • #2
    A winterization state would be useful. I'm not comfortable with automated state transition between normal, winterization and seasonalShutdown. I could make the state control automation visible should someone want to make the moding fully automated. In my case I also turn the water supply off when I'm not in season. The first thing I do at the start of the season is to run the cycle to make certain all sprinkler heads are functional. Now I use a palm pad to go from zone to zone, but a 1-minute cycle of all zones would let me survey the status and identify any problems. THe states and modes would be.

    Normal State: Auto & Manual modes
    Transition State: Winterization & Checkout modes
    Seasonal Shutdown State; Disable mode


    • #3
      I purge my system whenever the temp is going to be below freezing -- so water won't freeze in the valves or pipes and damage them. To do this, I have to turn on the attached air compressor and let it build up pressure. Then I run a HS event that opens each valve in the system for one minute with a one minute delay between valves (to let the compressor catch up). It works OK but I have to manually fire the event when the temp is FORECAST to be below freezing. This is not a once a season thing -- it may be below freezing here for a day or two then warm up enough that I can "unpurge" the system. (I don't water the lawn in the winter but I use the sprinkler system to fill a pond year-round). It would be helpful if my sprinkler control system could automatically handle purging the system. I can't set it up myself to do so because 1) zones can't be in multiple areas and I need each zone to run one minute, not the normal 30 minutes and 2) an area can only have 10 zones (I have 21 zones).

      Why are you not comfortable with providing this automation option? I understand that not everybody would use it, but it would really be helpful for those who DO purge their system when the temp drops below freezing.


      • #4
        In the winter time I have sufficient rainfall that I do not need to supplement my pond with well water. As you can tell I considered the purge to be a seasonal transition thing rather than a continuous process. It really does not matter as all that changes is the mode transition criteria. A continuous activity has more merit to automation that a transitional one that occurs only twice per year.

        My reservations are based upon experience with reliability of internet data and home PC data processing. Input sensor conditioning is not done by mcsSprinklers. If a forecast comes in at 0 degrees in the middle summer then the purge would be activated. If the intenet connection is lost in the winter and the forecast for cold weather is not seen then the purge will not occur.

        How do you control the manifold to route air vs. water into the valves? In my case I simply turn off the water supply. I'm guessing you have a computer controlled valve.


        • #5
          Good points about depending on internet connection to trigger the purge. Maybe "semi-automating" would be better. Have the purge cycle triggered by a normal HS device (or even better two devices for a "fail-safe" setup). In other words, I might set it up to start the purge process when A1 and L16 go on. That should prevent spurious X10 signals from triggering it and I could still automated it with HS logic (ie, forecast low < 32, current temp less than <40, date between 10/1 and 4/1, etc).

          I actually have a dedicated compressor so I don't need a computer controlled valve. I was going to do it with a valve but I decided that the cost of the valve and the work to pipe my regular shop air system to the sprinkler system, and wire the valve to my HS computer wasn't worth it. I want a new larger compressor for my shop anyway so I am just going to retire the small one to this part-time job. Last year I had to turn the water off with a manual valve and then connect the compressor but before this winter I'm going to connect it permanently with a one-way check valve that will prevent water from going into the compressor when it's off. I will replace the manual water valve with a WaterCop valve to shut off the water when the purge cycle starts. Which reminds me -- there would also have to be logic to turn that valve off. I guess the easiest way, if you're going to consider doing this, would be to allow mcsSprinklers to run a HS script before the purge cycle starts. That script could turn the water off, turn the compressor on, turn an air-valve on (if necessary), etc. Is this possible?